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Transmission & Drivetrain

Transmission Control Module: Buyer’s Guide for Classic Cars

Transmission Control Module: Buyer's Guide for Classic Cars - Gearstar

An advanced, late-model electronic transmission and transmission control module can enhance the performance of classic cars. These controllers offer precise shift point revolutions per minute and can adjust line pressure for shift firmness. They are not a universal remedy for weak transmissions but can enhance the automotive experience when the electronic automatic transmission is functioning properly. Some solutions provide dyno mode and block the torque converter clutch to prevent slippage.

The Products Currently on the Market

The market currently offers a variety of high-performance transmission control modules from major brands with unique features and solutions. Selection depends on the specific functions required, with some requiring laptop tuning for advanced users and others not. Some helpful categories for selection include LED diagnostics, A/B Shift, and Speedo Output. Simplicity in design is a desirable feature, with some controllers using dials instead of digital inputs and others being smaller in size. Newer control products offer upgraded features and improved performance, such as the TCU 2.0 system with diagnostic LED indicators and robust software.

Edelbrock’s Autonomous Controller

Mentioning Edelbrock’s autonomous controller that can easily be controlled using a wireless Android tablet as the input component instead of a device attached to a cable is not out of line. The stand-alone trans controller makes use of practically the same software and circuitry for its popular ProFlo-4 EFI system. The trans controller promises to deliver the same incredibly sound engineering that Edelbrock’s ProFlo-4 EFI system offers.

The HGM Electronics Compu-Shift

According to experts, the HGM Electronics Compu-Shift is one of the most reliable and durable systems to consider. In a recent improvement move to sharpen its deliverables, HGM engineers completely re-designed its path-breaking CompuShift II controller by placing the electronics in a more compact package called the HGM Sport.

The HGM also brought down the total cost of the entire system by making use of Bluetooth technology to load a free program into iPad or iPhone devices and Android tablets and phones. As a result, your tablet or smartphone becomes the handheld screen when using HGM Sport.

This enables you to keep track of the system’s current state and make necessary changes to its settings as desired. This frees you from the standard expenditure of buying and using a separate monitor and significantly reduces the cost of the entire system.

Transmissions and Suitable Products They Work With

Most TCMs only function on a carbureted engine as long as a throttle position sensor (TPS) is attached to the carburetor. HGM sells Acculink, an excellent conversion kit that helps install a standard 3-pin GM sensor on various carburetors from Holley, Edelbrock, or Q-jet. Holley also sells a great conversion kit, though it is only suitable for electric choke-equipped 4160.4150 carburetors that come with an electrical throttle.

The likelihood that few owners of high-performance-oriented vehicles may want to integrate an electronic fuel injection system with an electronically-operated transmission is high. For instance, FiTech integrates transmission control into specific EFI systems, e.g., the Ultimate LS1/LS2/LS6 500hp system from FiTech.

Some owners may prefer an electronic fuel injection system to run their engines with an independent mechanism for the trans. You may consider systems that easily communicate between the independent controllers via a controller area network (CAN) bus system. CAN is a unique method for digital systems to transfer data quickly, including rpm, TPS, temperatures, and MAP. An example is TCI’s TCU 2.0, which efficiently transfers data through a CAN bus system with a FAST EFI system.

Transmissions control modules that require a laptop

The following are the TCMs that can be accessed via a laptop:

  • PSC ATI
  • FiTech Go Shift
  • MicroSquirt
  • Chevrolet Performance
  • PCS TCM 2800

Transmission Control Module That Do Not Require a Laptop

These TCMS do not require the use of a laptop to access them:

  • MSD TCM
  • TCI EZ TCU
  • Edelbrock TC
  • Painless Perfect Torc
  • HGM CompuShift Sport
  • PCS SimpleShift

Conclusion

With everything considered, transmission controllers will certainly find popularity among speedsters who always want to utilize the full potential of the transmissions installed in their high-performance-oriented vehicles.

Performance Evolution of Ford Automatic Transmissions

Performance Evolution of Ford Automatic Transmissions - Gearstar

The era between 1964 and the 1980s was remarkable in the automobile industry. During this period, millions of Ford vehicles – i.e., cars and trucks – were equipped with C4 and C5 automatic transmissions. These were purely ford automatic transmissions – i.e., zero electronic controls – that were very popular with hot rodders, racers, as well as restorers due to their low cost and simplicity.

However, despite the possibility of purchasing cores and rebuilding in order to suit the requirements of a particular vehicle for a far less rebuilt modern overdrive automatic transmission with electronic controls, they lacked the lockup torque converters and overdriven gears newer transmissions rely heavily upon in order to boost fuel economy. Ford faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge in the late 1950s: shedding the old-fashioned technology and dated image. However, the carmaker faced the challenge head-on, beginning in 1958 with the new generation of the FE-series V-8 engines. 

Before 1960, Ford vehicles were burdened with heavily obsolete BorgWarner-designed cast-iron FX and MX automatic transmissions famously called Ford-O-Matics, Cruise-O-Matics, and Merc-O-Matics. The FX was small, while the MX was a popular large-case automatic. These were rugged, dependable, and heavy transmissions, so complex that adapting them to performance applications was next to impossible.

Falcon and Comet

Ford introduced its Falcon and Comet sixes in 1960. Just before then, Ford engineers had painstakingly developed lightweight aluminum-case automatic transmissions for the exciting lineup of vehicles that arrived in the ’60s. Soon enough, the 90-degree Fairlane small-block V8s followed the lightweight-iron Falcon and Comet sixes in 1962. The Mercury Comet and Ford Falcon, introduced in the ’60s, came with the new lightweight Ford-O-Matic two-speed transmission. BorgWarner manufactured this 2-speed transmission for new-generation small V-8s and straight-6.

The hard steel parts inside and out and its aluminum case made the Ford-O-Matic different from its predecessor. In its early application, the Ford-O-Matic transferred heat to the atmosphere through the cooling vents in the bell housing and torque converter. There was no transmission cooler in the radiator, and no fluid was used as a coolant. However, later versions of this Ford transmission came with a transmission fluid cooler in the radiator. In addition, the Merc-O-Matic/Ford-O-Matic came with a case-fill dipstick tube, with the main case and bell housing cast as one, in order to reduce the likelihood of leakage and excess weight.

The Ford C4 Transmission

After learning a lot from the BorgWarner 2-speed automatic transmission, Ford took its knowledge and used it to build the C4 3-speed automatic transmission known as the Cruise-O-Matic for the 1964 model year.

  • The C4 automatic transmission was manufactured at Ford’s transmission plant in Sharonville, Ohio, from 1964 to 1981. It was the first automatic transmission Ford solely designed and constructed. It utilized a new, cutting-edge Simpson compound planetary gear set that became the industry standard for decades.
  • The C4 automatic transmission earned its name from the model year it was manufactured, i.e., ‘C’ denotes the ’60s decade while ‘4’ was for the year 1964. However, this naming practice lasted less time than expected, as the transmissions that followed were C3 in the ’70s and C5 in the ’80s.
  • The C4 was known as the ‘Dual-Range Cruise-O-Matic’ from ’64 to ’66, otherwise known as the Green Dot transmission. This transmission was equipped with a unique valve body that enables you to start driving in second gear on snow and ice with a 2-3 upshift. This is the small dot on the indicator.

The larger green dot near ‘L’ at the detent allows a driver to start in first gear and go through the typical 1-2-3 upshift program.

Cruise-O-Matic

Ford called its new automatic transmission the Cruise-O-Matic, but Mercury called its own the Merc-O-Matic. Bear in mind that ‘Cruise-O-Matic’ was the broad marketing name for the Ford automatic transmissions created in the mid-’60s era. But by 1967, the name ‘Cruise-O-Matic’ was dropped in favor of the name ‘Select-Shift’ and was picked up and used for all automatic transmissions from Ford. The C4 automatic transmission only had the 5-bolt bell housing for V-8s for only the 1964 model year. However, by August 1964, the V-8s and C4 it was mated to were ingeniously fitted into the larger 6-bolt bell housing in order to reduce vibration, noise, and harshness.

The following are the C4 gear ratios:

  • First gear – 2.46:1
  • Second gear – 1.46:1
  • Third gear – 1.00:1
  • Reverse gear – 2.20:1

The C4 transmission evolved, resulting in the introduction of other design changes. The most notable was the ’67 and ’69 valve body that offers a traditional P-R-N-D-2-1 shift pattern.

The Ford C5 Transmission

Ford introduced the popular C5 Select-Shift transmission in 1982. Its only difference from its predecessor was that it came with a locking torque converter in order to boost fuel economy significantly. The C5 automatic transmission remained in production from 1982 to 1986 at Ford’s transmission and axle plant in Livonia, Michigan. But it wasn’t recommended as one of the high-performance transmissions. Nevertheless, the C5 transmission shares most of its internal components with its predecessor, including the cases. The C5 transmission was manufactured as pan-fill and case-fill with 157- or 167-tooth flexplates.

The Ford C6 Transmission 

Ford introduced its heavy-duty C6 –speed transmission for high-torque applications. This automatic transmission was behind the large-displacement big-block V-8s. Its internal components and case were entirely different from the C4 transmission, but internally, they were the same, though scaled largely for heavy-duty use.

The rugged C6 transmission had four basic bell housing bolt patterns throughout its long production life as it was designed solely for high-power applications. There’s also the small-block C6 automatic transmission intended only for 351W as well as 351C engines and fits any 6-bolt 289/302/351W/51C small-block bell housing bolt pattern.

The C6 transmission for diesel engines was produced in the ’80s before the introduction of the 4R100 (E4OD) in 1989. Despite the arrival of the 4R100, Ford continued producing the C6 automatic transmission for industrial applications until 1996.

The arrival of the ’70s met Ford with a respectable lineup of great and modern lightweight automatic transmissions. Here are the C6 gear ratios:

  • First Gear – 2.46:1
  • Second Gear – 1.46:1
  • Third Gear – 1.00:1
  • Reverse – 2.00:1

Conclusion

Ford has undergone decades of performance evolution from it’s first automatic transmission to the current one in the market. The current transmission may not be perfect in every sense. But it is sure the car maker will improve its transmissions to deliver worthy experiences for their esteemed customers.

Here’s How the Chevy 4L60E Transmission Shifted V8 Engines for Decades

Chevy 4L60E Transmission

The 4L60E refers to a series of General Motors transmissions manufactured and introduced for sports utility vehicles, cars, and trucks. It significantly improved its predecessor, the 4L60 transmissions, which included upgrading hydraulics to electronically controlled transmissions. Despite its flaws, the Chevy 4L60E Transmission delivers exceptional performance, which is why many Chevy owners love it. This article highlights the evolution of the 4L60E transmission, how it shifted V8 engines in Chevys, and more.

What You Should Know About The Chevy 4L60E Transmission 

The 4L60E transmission is a 4-speed gear system – i.e., it utilizes four forward gears and one reverse gear – ideal for street performance and retrofitting because they can be modified easily. Its major characteristics include:

  • 8.4 quarts (9.64-inch torque converter), 11.4 quartz (11.81-inch torque converter), or 14 quartz fluid capacity. The 4L60E transmission versions with a deep pan or sizeable cooling circuit required 14 quartz.
  • Longitudinal mount
  • Four forward gears
  • 60 relative torque rating of 360 lb-ft.
  • Compatible with V6 and V8 engines
  • Electronic valve body with varied ratios for optimal performance

The 4L60E transmission’s additional features and notable improvements over the years include the following:

  • Increased torque capacity in 2001
  • Modified downshift solenoid and 6-bolt tail shaft in 1996
  • A pulse width modulated torque converter was added in 1995.

The 4L60E transmission is the gear system to turn to when upgrading a modern vehicle or restoring a vintage automobile. It is the preferred trans for vehicles used for long road trips or on rough terrains. It weighs 146 lbs., but adding the recommended transmission fluid for the 4L60E takes it all up to 162 lbs.

Although a manual gearbox may be a race driver’s choice, the 4L60E transmission’s exceptional capabilities are the best option. The 4L60E doesn’t utilize hydraulic pressure but uses actuators and electronic solenoids for controlling the clutch, valves, and bands, giving more than enough room for gear shifting. This significantly boosts the transmission’s performance and fuel economy.

Gear Ratios

The 4L60E transmission offers a wide range of gear ratios, with the first gear ratio perfect for pulling off very quickly under acceleration. It is also the gear ratio of choice for pulling/carrying a heavy load or off-road driving.

The fourth gear, which is the overdrive gear, permits the achievement of lower revolutions per minute at cruising speeds and a potentially higher overall top speed.

Here are the gear ratios of the 4L60E transmission:

  • First gear – 3.06:1
  • Second gear – 1.62:1
  • Third gear – 1.00:1
  • Fourth gear – 0.70:1
  • Reverse – 2.29:1

Strengths of the 4L60E Transmission 

The 4L60E transmission is known for its remarkable strength and capability of transmitting lots of torque and power from truck applications and performance automobiles. It is used in vehicles weighing as much as 8,600 lbs. gross vehicle weight, making it the go-to transmission for the ever-dynamic transmission building aftermarket. General Motors manufactured the high-performance versions of the 4L60E, and it is used extensively in several vehicle models such as:

  • The Chevrolet Corvette
  • The Chevrolet Impala SS
  • The Australian-built Pontiac GTO
  • The Chevy Camaro
  • The Pontiac Firebird 

Chevy has the highest number of models – i.e., up to 16 Chevy models – that utilized the 4L60E transmission that shifted V8 engines for decades. But the company eventually stopped using this transmission in 2014 when it appeared for the last time on the Chevrolet Express.

As mentioned earlier, the 4L60E utilizes two-shift solenoids for actuating gear changes. These solenoids were known as Shift Solenoid A and Shift Solenoid B in the early versions of this transmission. At the time, the PCM could easily achieve four distinct gear ratios by turning them on and off in pre-set patterns.

However, the names were changed to 1-2 Shift Solenoid and 2-3 Shift Solenoid, respectively, in compliance with OBDII regulations.

Since the goal of General Motors was to eliminate the reliance on hydraulic pressure when making gear changes, the company improved fuel efficiency and performance using a computer that could swiftly interpret data derived from speed sensors. This made it possible to decide the ideal period to shift gears using solenoids.

The Pulse Width Modulation (PWM)

The Pulse Width Modulation torque converter clutch solenoid present on all late models of the 4L60E transmission allows a seamless application – and release – of the torque converter clutch. In addition, the adapted or modified valve body controlled by a solenoid and electronic actuators make the 4L60E transmission readily controllable with a unique modern electronic transmission controller called the COMPUSHIFT.

The 4L60E Transmission Control with the COMPUSHIFT

The 4L60E transmission has a 13-pin or 15-pin case plug. Currently, only a handful of transmissions still use the 13-pin case plug. Experts highly recommend upgrading to the 4L60E, which utilizes the 15-pin case plug. A 17-pin case plug also exists but is only employed with the 4L70E equipped with the internal mode switch.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the 4L60E Transmission

Before overriding your existing gear with a solid 4L60E transmission, knowing the benefits and drawbacks of the latter is essential.

Here are the benefits and drawbacks of the 4L60E transmission:

Benefits

  • Firm and complete control of every aspect of the shift
  • Shift firmness or adjustment is controlled easily
  • Controllers of the 4L60E transmission make everything easy as they help establish exact shift points.
  • Enhanced torque capacity
  • Solid fuel economy performance
  • Super easy calibration of the speedometer
  • Super-fast transmission
  • Changes can be made easily to the shift points and line pressure
  • Adjusting the shift points from the interior is possible, making it less stressful.

Drawbacks

The 4L60E transmission may be one of the most efficient gear systems on the market, but it has several drawbacks you should be aware of. Here they are, arranged in no particular order:

  • Users need to add a TPS input alongside a carburetor
  • Setting it up is pretty expensive due to the need for an external controller
  • Push-in clips leak frequently and may require constant replacement
  • Shifts are sometimes delayed and harsh, while a few even stop working altogether. It is common for some shifts to get worn out.

Conclusion

The chevy 4L60E transmission belongs to the series of electronically operated automatic transmissions – and the most versatile – built by General Motors. It is the electronic version of its predecessor, the 4L60 transmission. It remains the perfect choice for upgrading your vehicle or restoring a vintage one.

The ABCs of a 4 Speed Automatic Transmission

The ABCs of a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission - Gearstar Performance Transmissions

Automatic transmissions are mechanisms designed to shift the gears of vehicles with the increase or sudden decrease of speed. Since the mechanism is automatic, the driver’s input to change the gears manually – as it is done with manual transmission – is not required. An automatic transmission readily adjusts the rotational speed of the internal combustion engine. This occurs so that the gears can handle different speed ranges and torque outputs. This article covers a particular type of transmission, the 4-speed automatic transmission, and everything you need to know about it. But before then, let’s highlight why vehicles use transmissions.

Why Do Vehicles Need a Transmission?

The engine of a vehicle is designed to generate torque. Therefore, in order to move the vehicle from its parking spot and into motion, there must be a transfer of the engine’s rotational power to the wheels. This is what the drivetrain, i.e., the wheelwork consisting of an intricately connected set of rotating gears via which force is transmitted of which the transmission is part of, accomplishes. Transferring power from the crankshaft to the wheels is impossible without the drivetrain. The crankshaft only spins at 800 revolutions per minute. Connecting a driveshaft directly to the crankshaft will snap it into pieces within seconds. This is how vital the drivetrain system is. However, a vehicle engine can only spin at a specific number of speeds in order to perform optimally.

If the engine’s spin is too low, the vehicle won’t budge an inch from its parking spot. If the spin is too fast, the engine automatically self-destructs. What is required is a way to automatically multiply the power the engine produces when required – i.e., traveling up a hill, starting from a parked position, etc. – while decreasing the amount of power transmitted from the engine when it is not required, i.e., traveling very fast, going downhill, etc. This is where the transmission comes in.

Transmission’s Primary Goal

The primary goal is to ensure that the engine spins at an optimal rate, i.e., not too fast or too slow, while providing the wheels with an appropriate amount of power required to move or stop the vehicle simultaneously, irrespective of the situation you find yourself in. The transmission can be locked between the engine and the rest of the drivetrain. It acts like a power switchboard of sorts for your vehicle. The drivetrain is an entire assembly that covers the transmission, engine, differential, driveshaft, and axles. This system drives your vehicle forward or sets it in motion.

Two major types of transmissions exist:

  1. Manual transmission 
  2. Automatic transmission

Manual transmissions require the driver’s input, i.e., you control the gears to be engaged by pressing a clutch pedal and shifting the necessary gear into place. On the other hand, an automatic transmission is a brilliant piece of engineering that determines the particular gear to be engaged without human input. All you need to do is step on the brake or gas pedals as desired. This is nothing short of automotive magic.

Another but less common transmission type is the electronically controlled transmission, which you will find on a few newer vehicles. These transmissions use hydraulics to actuate the bands and clutches. But an electric solenoid controls each hydraulic circuit. Different versions of automatic transmissions exist, but today, the 4-speed automatic transmission will be discussed.

What is a 4 Speed Automatic Transmission?

A 4-speed automatic transmission is the gear system that allows your vehicle to run at specific revolutions per minute (RPM) – usually 1,000 RPM – at four different speeds. For instance, a 4-speed automatic transmission at 1,000 RPM will allow your vehicle to run at 10, 20, 45, and 60 kilometers per hour. A vehicle with 5-speed automatic transmission can be driven at 5 different speeds at 1,000 revolutions per minute.

Bear in mind that the acceleration of a vehicle with a 4-speed automatic transmission will be slower than a vehicle with a 5-speed automatic transmission. This is because it will need to cover more speed – in kilometers per hour or miles per hour – before shifting to the next gear. Most vehicles with 4-speed automatic transmissions were manufactured during the 1990s. But most new model automobiles today come with 5-speed or even 6-speed automatic transmissions. Some excellent examples of vehicles with a 4-speed automatic transmission include:

  • Mazda Demio
  • Dodge Avenger SE
  • Subaru Forester
  • Scion xB, etc.

The popular Toyota models with 4-speed automatic transmissions are Tacoma, Corolla, and Yaris.

Which is Better – a 4-Speed Automatic Transmission or a 5-Speed Automatic Transmission?

No one can accurately say one is much better than the other, though the vehicle’s model, brand, and year of production can play critical roles in this determination. Besides these factors, it doesn’t make much of a difference, except that the 5-speed automatic transmission has several benefits you should be aware of, such as:

  • It offers better fuel economy due to its narrower speed range
  • It will give you more shifting clutches and actuation overhead energy than its counterpart. But this can eventually impact fuel economy negatively in the long run.
  • Enhanced drivability
  • You will experience less speed change than a 4-speed automatic transmission. This makes the shift feel much better to handle while in motion.

Regarding fuel efficiency and performance, the two versions of the automatic transmission are similar. This is why many auto experts recommend opting for a 4-speed automatic transmission, especially if the automobile is available at a pocket-friendly price.

More gears will only do a little good, except helping your automobile run its engine at the maximum revolutions per minute range for extended periods. Undoubtedly, every vehicle powered by a 4-speed automatic transmission will be a bit behind one with a 5-speed automatic. However, vehicles with 5-speed automatic transmissions will call for maintenance sessions – to allow the driver to shift more – which will set you back a few bucks from time to time.

Conclusion

The transmission is a vital part of any vehicle and must never be taken for granted. Without it, your vehicle will not budge from the garage or wherever you park it. Different versions of automatic transmissions exist, and one of the early versions is the 4-speed automatic transmission. The 4-speed transmission was manufactured and used in vehicles produced in the ’90s. As a result, they’re the preferred choice over their more modern counterparts for those with tight budgets and fewer maintenance requirements.

6 Automotive Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving and Beyond

6 Automotive Things to Be Grateful for This Thanksgiving and Beyond - Gearstar

It’s Thanksgiving month again, and time to be eternally grateful for everything life has thrown our way – the good, the bad, the ugly, and we survived them all. But most importantly, being thankful for the things experienced within the automotive universe and celebrate car culture. Therefore, here are the top six automotive things to be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond.

1. Automatic Transmissions

Once upon a time, manual transmissions were the “latest and greatest” with their perks. But this is no longer the case as automatic transmissions have taken over. For instance, only four percent of vehicles sold in 2013 came with manual transmissions. Moreover, up to 67 percent of new vehicle models don’t even have manual options.

Driving safely on roads already commands lots of attention or focus. Automatic transmissions eliminate acceleration, proper shifting, and deceleration from the mix. This significantly minimizes the direct involvement of the driver. Automatic transmissions take the additional stress out of the equation, which is why many road users love them.

How Automatic Transmissions Work

This is how vehicles with automatic transmissions operate. When you switch to the ‘Drive’ mode, the system activates. Pressing the accelerator towards the floorboard enables the engine’s crankshaft to rotate more rapidly. As the vehicle moves forward, the automatic transmission’s electronics and hydraulics sense its speed in connection to the engine speed.

As a result, the transmission changes gears automatically in response to the engine’s reaction. The rapid rotation of the engine’s crankshaft results in more pressure in the torque converter. The hydraulics within the classic automatic transmission senses these speed changes and activates other hydraulics to change gears within the planetary set. But today, electronics perfectly supplement the sensing process, and the transmission works together with the vehicle’s other systems.

Components of Automatic Transmissions

In simple words, automatic transmissions change gears without the direct involvement of the driver, aside from the designated options like:

  • Neutral
  • Drive
  • Reverse
  • Park

However, these commands will only be activated with the involvement of several key components that work hand-in-hand within a variety of conditions time and again. The most crucial elements of automatic transmissions are:

  • Planetary gears. Automatic transmissions generally make use of different types of gear sets. The set of planetary gears they use creates multiple gear ratios since the hydraulics of the automatic transmissions control them. The forward speed of your vehicle will be limited severely if your automobile comes with a single forward gear and a torque converter. This is the primary reason gear-changing is crucial.
  • Torque converters. Torque converters are perfect replacements for mechanical clutches in manual transmissions. They perform the same functions as clutches by enabling the engine connection and disconnection from the driveline as required to facilitate gear changing. The development of practical automatic transmissions would have been impossible without the torque converter. Cars with automatic transmissions are set in motion via fluid dynamics that transfer torque from the engine. This capability enables you to have your foot pressed firmly on the brake while your vehicle is still in ‘Drive’ mode when motionless at a stoplight. But fluid dynamics soaks up the torque when moving forward is not desired.
  • Clutches and brake bands. Clutches and brake bands prompt the changing of gears within the planetary gear set. Clutches in automatic transmissions help determine the specific gear ratio the planetary gearset creates. The brake bands tighten to hold a specific gear stationary or loosen up to enable that particular gear to spin. The combination of spinning and stationary gears within the gearset generates individual gear ratios.

2. Modern Safety Tech

Modern automotive crash safety technology and design have helped save countless lives. You may think you don’t need suitable old seat belts and airbags, but you should always be thankful they are there. This is crucial, especially since you share and use the road with other users with varying skill levels. Be thankful for innovative safety technologies, especially the lane-keeping assist and pre-collision braking systems that help prevent unskilled or distracted drivers from running into you.

3. Studded Snow Tires

That time of the year is upon this part of the world where temperature plummets and the lakes freeze out. Ice-racing drivers are chomping at the bits as snow season draws closer, and they need to switch their tires to studded snow options. Snow-studded tires enable you to pitch your vehicle around frozen race courses at double-digit or triple-digit speeds. However, remember that these tires are primarily designed for use on the road. Remember to check out the legality since only a few places allow studded snow tires.

4. V8 Engines

The V-type, 8-cylinder configuration engines are well-known for their power-generating potential, sound quality, and smoothness. In addition, the V8 offers loads of cylinder displacement within a reasonably small package, i.e., it gives you massive power in a tiny automobile. The V8 engine layout is almost 100 percent guaranteed to please its user, even though it appears time is running out for this particular configuration.

5. Automatic Headlights

Automatic headlights are a welcome development. They automatically kick on low beams when the sun gets low in the sky or when driving in a tunnel. They help save you the stress of switching on headlights in situations where you may not ordinarily think even to put them on.

6. Apple CarPlay

Apple CarPlay is another essential automotive feature you should be thankful for as Thanksgiving Day approaches. All you need to do is plug in your iPhone via a USB cable, and a familiar, user-friendly interface optimized for extensive use while driving pops up. In addition, the Apple CarPlay is easy to pick out between different menus or overly distracting. Apple CarPlay’s multimedia UI is easily understood, even by people who are not tech-savvy. Moreover, the experience is the same, irrespective of whether it is installed in a Honda Civic sedan or F-150 pickup truck.

Final Takeaway

These are just a handful of the automotive things you should be grateful for this Thanksgiving and beyond. As automotive technology advances, there will be much more to be thankful for.

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Transmission Rebuild - Gearstar

Is your vehicle transmission giving you a headache, and you’re already contemplating replacing it with a brand-new one? Replacing a faulty vehicle transmission can be an enormous task. Getting a brand-new vehicle transmission will cost you much of your hard-earned money. However, there is a less costly way to get your defective vehicle transmission fixed, and that is to rebuild it. Rebuilding your transmission will require total disassembling and checking each component for wear. If you’re unsure about this option, read on to learn more about transmission rebuild and why it is the best option for anyone on a tight budget. You will also discover the top six long-term benefits of a rebuilt transmission.

What Is a Rebuilt Transmission?

A rebuilt transmission refers to a major mechanical overhaul performed on a vehicle’s transmission. A transmission is akin to an automobile engine and is composed of several interrelated mechanical components that tend to wear and tear over time, especially with extended use. By rebuilding a vehicle’s transmission, all the worn parts are replaced. However, this prevents the entire replacement of the automobile transmission, which is usually costlier than rebuilding it.

Why Should You Rebuild Your Vehicle’s Transmission?

Rebuilding a transmission is the best – or most popular – option for anyone who wants to avoid forking out a lot of money to replace a worn-out or severely damaged transmission with a brand-new one. In reality, brand-new transmissions are more modern, especially those available with the latest model of vehicles these days. However, they have proven to be as expensive as brand-new car engines.

Therefore, people with tight budgets or those who want to avoid paying the exorbitant amount required to secure a brand-new vehicle transmission will prefer a transmission rebuild. Rebuilding a transmission generally entails removal and careful inspection of the vehicle transmission. This also includes replacing or refurbishing any severely damaged or worn transmission components.

6 Long-Term Benefits of a Rebuilt Transmission

When transmission problems rear their ugly heads, the first thought that passes through the vehicle owner’s mind is getting a brand-new vehicle. This can be a distressing thought, especially if you’re on a very tight budget and can’t afford a new vehicle transmission. But this shouldn’t be the case. Instead, you can have your vehicle transmission rebuilt by a professional mechanic. There are tremendous long-term benefits that come with a rebuilt transmission that only a few people know. Here are some of the top six benefits of a rebuilt transmission:

1. Better Performance

A rebuilt transmission worked over by a professional mechanic provides top-notch performance over another with severe internal damage and has only undergone a quick fix. You get to spend far less money for the quick fix and get it running within a short period. But the transmission will never rerun the right way. However, rebuilding your vehicle transmission is an excellent avenue to getting it back to top-notch condition. This means a smooth and dependable performance.

2. Quicker Than Buying a Used Transmission

If you own an older vehicle model, getting a brand-new transmission is next to impossible. Finding a used transmission for your older vehicle model can also be a hassle. This is because you will have to visit junkyards or look for one at online auctions. Even if luck smiles on you and you find one, it will take several weeks to be delivered.

It will also take a few more days to review the used transmission to ensure it is in excellent working condition. But rebuilding your transmission will take less time. The entire process of rebuilding your transmission usually takes anything from two to four days, maximum. Transmission rebuilds guarantee that the work done is 100 percent up to par. Your older car model will be up and running in a few days.

3. Moderate Cost Savings

Transmission rebuilds generally cost much more upfront than other transmission repairs or fixes. But this option will save you a lot of money down the road as you will no longer have to deal with ongoing problems and repeat issues that will cost you more over time with constant repairs when required. There is a better way to go if you plan to keep your older model vehicle for several years. But even if you change your mind and prepare to sell the car later, the rebuilt transmission’s warranty adds massive value to the buyer’s mind.

4. Extended Vehicle Lifespan

A faulty or damaged vehicle transmission puts much strain on other drivetrain and powertrain components. A weak transmission affects everything, such as:

  • Transfer case
  • Cooling system
  • Wheels and suspension
  • Exhaust
  • Axles
  • Differentials
  • Engine

This is why rebuilding your transmission is the best option, as it runs like new again. This helps protect other vital vehicle components and generally extends the lifespan of your SUV, car, or truck.

5. Profound Peace of Mind

The main purpose for rebuilding your vehicle transmission is to ensure it runs like a brand-new unit again. The transmission is rebuilt from scratch and often backed by several years of warranty. Every damaged or worn component is replaced while the still-good working parts undergo a thorough cleaning and then reinstalled appropriately. This includes every nut and bold. There’s nothing like the profound peace of mind you will enjoy, knowing you will no longer battle constant transmission repairs.

6. Retaining the Original Transmission

Another benefit of rebuilding your transmission is keeping your original transmission, i.e., the one primarily designed for and installed in your car or SUV. This transmission is already tuned to work seamlessly with your car engine and the overall drivetrain system. Getting a brand-new OEM transmission is far more expensive than a transmission rebuild.

The Bottom Line

These are just some of the remarkable long-term benefits of a rebuilt transmission instead of getting a brand-new one. Therefore, the next time you experience vehicle transmission problems, your first thought should be something other than purchasing a new car or transmission. Instead, it should be getting your vehicle to a professional mechanic for a complete transmission rebuild.

4R70W Performance Fundamentals Guide

4R70W Performance Fundamentals Guide - Gearstar

The 4R70W is a revised version of the famous Ford’s long-running 4-speed AOD (automatic overdrive) transmission that appeared in the ’80s. Experts believe a robust performance transmission adds more power to vehicles like the 4th generation Ford Mustang. In addition, it was a much-needed answer to the fuel efficiency issues that plagued the United States during the 1973 oil embargo crisis. General Motors and Chrysler saw the remarkable success of Ford’s 4R70W performance and followed almost immediately with the unique and respective versions. The nomenclature of the 4R70W breaks down this way:

  • 4: Four forward speeds
  • R: Rear-wheel drive
  • 70: Torque rating x 10 (holds up to 700 lb-ft)
  • W: Wide-ratio

You need to know the fundamentals of the 4R70W performance transmission.

Overview of the 4R70W Performance Transmission

As mentioned earlier, the 4R70W transmission is a significantly enhanced AOD with a wide gear ratio and rear-wheel overdrive. In addition, the 4R70W transmission’s first and second-gear ratios are higher. This has given rise to several benefits in vehicles mounted with this high-performance transmission. Drivers of the 4R70W performance transmission will enjoy better mechanical advantage, lower fuel consumption, and even better take-off acceleration. The strength of the gearset is also enhanced. The 4R70W features a ‘wide ratio’ gear set. In 1998, the intermediate one-way clutch was replaced with a mechanical diode.

4R70W Specs and Ratios

The 4R70W transmission’s case material is aluminum and features a Motorcraft FT 105 transmission filter. It has a maximum torque input of approximately 516 lb-ft. The 4R70W transmission’s gear ratios are as follows:

  • First gear: 2.84:1
  • Second gear: 1.55:1
  • Third gear: 1.00:1
  • Fourth gear (overdrive): 0.70:1
  • Reverse: 2.32:1

The automatic overdrive electronic control transmission (AODE) was launched in 1991. This particular transmission is different from the AOD in several ways. This includes:

  • Computer controls
  • Torque controller
  • Front pump assembly
  • Single input shaft
  • New valve body

The following are the respective gear ratios of the AODE:

  • First gear: 2.40:1
  • Second gear: 1.47:1
  • Third gear: 1:2
  • Fourth gear: 0.67:1

As you can see, their gear ratios are significantly different when compared side by side. Furthermore, note that valve bodies and cases of the 4R70W, AOD, and AODE are also different. This is why it is practically impossible to switch the valve bodies of these units, stipulating specificity. However, it is possible to take the gear train of the AOD and shove it into an AODE and experienced zero issues.

4R70W Facts

The ’70s birthed a slew of fuel-efficient vehicles, but the manufacturers had to sacrifice some performance and speed features exhibited by the older models. At the time, driving fuel-efficient cars was economically and environmentally friendly, making it possible to cover many more miles but with less fuel. Therefore, when oil prices rose by 400 percent, it became crucial to manufacturing fuel-efficient automobiles. Ford rose to the occasion in 1980 by creating the 4-speed AOD. This transmission had several features found in old designs, despite its newness. Nevertheless, it was the perfect replacement for many older transmissions created by Ford, including the FMX, C4, and C5. The AOD was similar to the 3-speed FMX automatics. These transmissions had a few components in common, including the Ravigneaux gear train, etc.

4R70W Pros and Cons

While the 4R70W may be a performance transmission, but it is not without issues. For instance, here are some pros and cons of the 4R70W transmission.

Pros

The 4R70W transmission comes with a significantly boosted overdrive band, including the following:

  • Improved pinpoint precision control;
  • Solid input shaft;
  • Enhanced front pump.

Another significant benefit of the 4R70W transmission is its remarkable compatibility with most Ford automobiles with minimal work or modification. Moreover, this transmission easily fits several older vehicles, furnishing them with magnificent performance and efficiency.

Cons

When you overload the 4R70W transmission, you’re courting problems, as torque and power have a pronounced limit. Exceeding these limits can cause many various transmission problems. Other issues plaguing the 4R70W transmission include:

  • Delay in lock-up;
  • Intermediate clutch failures;
  • Rough 2-3 shifts;
  • Significant loss of forward gears and 4th gear;
  • Considerable shudder in reverse or delay in reverse;
  • Pump noise and leakage of the front seal;
  • Significant loss of 2nd and 3rd gears.

Every automatic transmission worth its salt requires consistent maintenance. The 4R70 transmission is included. Maintaining this robust transmission regularly guarantees its longevity. This is why it is highly recommended that a certified expert looks into this robust automatic transmission during installation. If all these issues are eliminated, it will go a long way in boosting the overall reliability of your 4R70W performance transmission while providing the much-needed power boost.

Identifying the 4R70W Transmission

Many need to learn how to quickly identify the 4R70W or know whether or not they have one. However, you can identify the 4R70W transmission by looking at the following:

  • Electric plug and cable. Both 4R70W and AOD transmissions come with a plug on their rear housing on the driver’s side. The electronic control cable plugs right into this particular spot in the unit. This differentiates the 4R70W and AODE transmissions from the older AOD units.
  • Lightweight components. Compared to their predecessors, 4R70W and AODE transmissions come with an aluminum front pump against the cast iron that the AOD has. The AODE and 4R70W transmissions are also lighter due to their stamped steel clutch packs – which are lighter than the cast steel of the AOD.

These are just a few identifiable aspects that differentiate the 4R70W transmission from its older counterparts.

4R70W Performance Key Takeaways

The 4R70W performance transmission is one of the most outstanding stock transmissions on the market, guaranteed to perform even better in vehicles like the 4th generation Ford Mustang. The 4R70W is best for performance driving or drag racing enthusiasts, and good speed is 100 percent guaranteed.

6L80E Transmission Specs and Identification

6L80E Transmission Specs and Identification - Gearstar

The arrival of 6L80E transmissions – or Hydra-Matic 6L80 transmissions – on the automotive scene in 2006 showcased the considerable design change of the automatic transmissions that General Motors created. Before now, every transmission produced by General Motors was practically based on hydraulic controls. But they kept receiving new electrical elements from time to time as they modernized.

However, the 6L80E transmission was developed from scratch as an electric over-hydraulic transmission, complete with microprocessor control, and used extensively in trucks. Now, being more than 25 years since the last non-electronic transmission produced by General Motors, the 6L80E is recognized – otherwise referred to as the 6L80.

General Motors created this transmission to make the organization meet the demands of CAFÉ regulations on their automobiles. This 6-speed automatic, longitudinal transmission utilizes more gearing that keeps your vehicle running longer within its power band, significantly boosting the miles per gallon (MPG) of the car between 4 to 7 percent over the previous generation’s 4-speed transmissions.

But, of course, this depends considerably on the configuration of the vehicle the transmission is in. The 6L80E replaced the 4L60E in several vehicles, especially from the 2006 model year. It was primarily found in large cars powered by V8 motors. The 8L90E transmission may have phased out this automatic transmission, but it is still in production. Some of these vehicles in which you will find the 6L80E automatic transmission include:

6L80E Transmission Specs

The 6L80E automatic transmission is robust and capable of handling lots of power. It is known to handle a total gross vehicle weight of up to 8,600lbs, making it one of the greatest transmissions for LS swaps with zero modification required. The input torque rating of this transmission is 440lbs. As you may have already guessed, this transmission is primarily designed for rear-wheel drive vehicles only. It comes with a line pressure tap integrated only for diagnostic purposes.

6L80E Transmission Gear Ratios

The 6L80E automatic transmission makes use of 4 underdrive gears as well as two overdrive gears. As a result, it doesn’t have the usual direct 1:1 ratio like the 4L60E and 4L80E transmissions. Here is the gear ratio of the 6L80E automatic transmission:

  • First gear — 4.027
  • Second gear — 2.364
  • Third gear — 1.532
  • Fourth gear — 1.152
  • Fifth gear — 0.852
  • Sixth gear — 0.0667
  • Reverse — 3.064

The 6L80E transmission’s RPO code is ‘MYC’ and is manufactured domestically in GM’s Michigan plant. It employs a direct clutch-to-clutch shifting with zero bands.

6L80E Transmission Identification

You can identify the 6L80E in two unique ways. However, your identification method depends primarily on whether the transmission is still mounted in the vehicle or has been dismounted. If the 6L80E transmission is still mounted in the vehicle, you can only identify it using its RPO tag in the vehicle’s glove compartment. This is why knowing the RPO code for the transmission you want to identify is nothing short of golden. For instance, here’s a list of GM transmission RPO codes you should know, arranged in no particular order:

  • 6L80E — MYC
  • 6L90 — MYD
  • 4L65E — M32
  • 4L60E — M30
  • 4L80E — MTI

You will always find one of these sheets in the glove compartment of modern GM vehicles. Get hold of one and use it to confirm the identity of the transmission in that particular vehicle. But suppose the transmission has been dismounted from the vehicle. In that case, you will quickly recognize the 6L80E automatic transmission since it has an 18-bolt case, which is considerably more than any other automatic transmission from General Motors.

6L80E and 6L90 transmissions are almost identical and interchangeable for all practical purposes. However, the 6L90 transmission has several internal upgrades and a beefier set of gears. This is why using the pan gasket is considered the easiest way to identify or tell most General Motors transmissions apart. The major automatic transmission that the 6L80E will be confused for all come with different numbers of pan gasket bolts.

Therefore, ensure to count the pan gasket bolts carefully. The torque converter with the 6L80E transmission is a fluid turbine drive. In addition, it features a lock-up pressure plate for direct mechanically-coupled driving from the engine crank, just like those found in the 6L80E’s predecessor transmissions, such as the 4L80E, TH350C, 4L60, and 700R4 transmissions.

Differences Between 6L80E and 6L90E Transmissions

The 6L90E succeeded the popular 6L80E. The former is primarily designed to transform the extra torque efficiently. The 6L90E transmission was essential as new automobiles with more significant performance were required to hit the market. The most significant difference between the 6L80E automatic transmission and its successor, the 6L90E transmission, can easily be traced to its internal components.

Starting with their case: the case of the 6L90E transmission is shorter than its predecessor. The primary reason for this unique design was to enable this transmission to accommodate additional physical gear assemblies adequately. Owing to this, this automatic transmission permits two extra pinion gears, which equates everything to six. This essential modification is vital for high RPM and high torque figures.

However, this also resulted in a biggish shaft to ensure 100 percent reliability, which is more noticeable during loaded 3-4 upshifts where the shaft experiences enormous stress. More than a few applications came with several clutches peppered across multiple clutch packs in the automatic transmission. This significantly boosts the load capabilities of the clutch packs within the gears to which they are applied readily.

Conclusion

So, there you have it: the glorious specs of the high-performance 6L80E automatic transmission and its identification characteristics. The 6-speed, longitudinal automatic transmission powers several GM trucks and a wide range of vehicles alongside its successor, the 6L90E model. You should have no trouble recognizing the robust 6L80E in a lineup of identical transmissions.

Rebuilding a Faster, Better TH400 in Almost Every Way

Rebuilding a Faster, Better TH400 in Almost Every Way - Gearstar

Rebuilding a transmission, such as the TH400, is not relatively as easy as changing your car filter or making an oil change. It is a challenge that will take a good mechanic almost all weekend. But if you don’t possess the skills of a mechanic, you shouldn’t attempt rebuilding your transmission. It is highly recommended that you leave this project in the hands of professionals. Here’s what you need to know about TH400 transmissions and how to rebuild them for faster and better performance.

Overview of TH400 Transmission

The TH400 transmission – or Turbo 400 transmission – was General Motors vehicles’ brainchild in 1964. This transmission was designed to substitute the ST300 2-speed automatic transmission. The TH400 transmission was used in Pontiacs and Cadillacs in the first year but somehow found its way to Chevrolets, Oldsmobiles, and other models by 1965.

The TH400 transmissions from 1965 to 1967 featured a mechanical device known as a variable pitch stator. This feature helped the torque converters characters in the transmissions and can easily be identified by the 2-prong plug on the case. By the time the ’70s arrived, the TH400 transmission was already used in heavy-duty GM trucks in 2WD and 4WD versions. 

In 1990, this transmission changed from TH400 to 3L80, resulting in longitudinally positioned 3-speeds and 8,000lbs. GVW or Gross Vehicle Weight. This name change was necessary as it made readily identifying the transmissions easier. This was also the year an early introduction of the 4L80-E transmission, the successor of the Turbo 400 Transmission that has overdrive, was made.

The TH400 transmission is an electronically-controlled, heavy-duty version of a TH350. The Turbo 400 Transmission required a kick-down switch by the gas pedal to inform the transmission when to kick down a gear. Military and heavy-duty GM vehicles still use this transmission as it is still produced today.

Features of the TH400 Transmission

The Turbo 400 transmission is a highly durable gear mechanism that offers improved performance over its predecessors. One common feature of the TH4oo transmission is its iron and aluminum construction. In addition, it has three tail shaft lengths and bell housing integrated into the transmission.

  • First gear – 2.48:1
  • Third gear – 1:1
  • Reverse gear – 2.08:1

The TH400 transmission weighs 135 pounds minus the fluid.

Identifying the TH400 Transmission

The Turbo 400 transmission has a main cast aluminum case measuring 24-3/8 inches long. This aluminum case is smooth. The rear mounting face of this transmission showcases a bold hex pattern with several ribs that run forward longitudinally. The shape of the fluid pan is somewhat irregular, likened to a distorted Texas pattern. The TH400 transmission is admittedly the largest of the regular General Motors transmissions.

Nevertheless, it is surprisingly compact, considering the immense power it can handle. General Motors created two significant variants of the Turbo 400 transmission. The first variant, i.e., the TH375 transmission, was made public from 1972 to 1976 in smaller displacement vehicles. It was used extensively in several small vehicles and easily identified by the ‘375-THM’ lettering carefully etched on the bottom or underside of the tail housing.

The other variant of the Turbo 400 transmission was the TH475; a heavy-duty transmission used extensively in large trucks from 1975 onwards. You can quickly identify the Turbo 400 transmission by checking out its kick-down assembly. This transmission uses an electric slide switch that controls the throttle linkage mechanism. On the other hand, the TH350 transmission uses a mechanical relay or cable kick-down mechanism attached to the throttle linkage.

Rebuilding the TH400 Transmission to Your Engine

The TH400 transmission is respected and loved due to its versatility and durability. However, there will come a time when the old transmission shows signs of wear and tear. Even the best transmissions are rebuilt at one point or the other. Wholly and correctly rebuilding an automatic transmission like the TH400 is ordinarily not beyond the capabilities of the average DIY automotive enthusiast. But there is always something that keeps away even pro automotive mechanics or technicians when rebuilding an automatic transmission.

Some claim not to have the necessary tools, while others say they don’t have enough time to carry out the task, so they whisk off the tranny to a specialty shop. As mentioned earlier, rebuilding a transmission is not an easy task. But the truth is that most of the tools required are standard hand tools. If you are not 101 percent sure of what you’re doing, best leave this task to professional mechanics. In this light, here are some of the tools required for rebuilding your TH400 transmission:

  • Safety equipment (eye protection, nitrile gloves, heavy-duty gloves, hearing protection, etc.)
  • Wrenches and sockets
  • Screwdrivers
  • Spring compressors
  • Snap ring pliers
  • Measuring devices
  • Pans for small components
  • Case holding features
  • Work surface
  • Busing removers and installers
  • Cleaning cases, etc.

When racing a Turbo 400 transmission, it is crucial to upgrade the direct and forward drums. The key revolves around more durable and stronger components and boosting efficiency for better performance, safety, and consistency. You can get a radical edge over other users by upgrading your TH400 to maximize drum function with unique configurations of more robust and lighter components. This development significantly boosts the efficiency and performance of your TH400 transmission for more power to the ground and stability/traction on the shifts.

Conclusion

The Turbo 400 – or TH400 – transmission is one of the automotive industry’s most widely used and versatile performance transmissions. This remarkable transmission has proven to be capable of handling massive power and is incredibly adaptable. This is not evident only in General Motor applications but also adapted behind Chrysler, Ford, and other engines.

You can maximize the reliability and performance of the TH400 transmission to make it deliver that exceptional result you trust at any power level. However, unless you are a certified mechanic or technician, it is highly recommended that you allow pros to handle the rebuilding of the TH400 transmission on your behalf.

A Detailed Look at Today’s High-Performance Automatic Transmission

A Detailed Look at Today's High-Performance Automatic Transmission - Gearstar

If your AT experience in sports and muscle cars is limited to the three- and four-speed slushboxes of yore, let us say this: today’s high-performance automatic transmission is nothing at all like them.

The early dislike for automatic transmissions seems to have melted away. These transmissions were once inefficient, clunky, and slow as they often provided one less ratio than a manual transmission, even in the exact vehicle. However, cars with automatic transmissions became point-and-go machines since shifting their gears required zero human intervention. As a result, these automatic transmissions have made driving more manageable and have become widely available.

Transmissions are primarily designed to assist in moving a vehicle with minimal effort from its engine. As a result, automatic transmissions are very convenient, mainly when you are trapped in busy traffic situations where you must stop, start, and shift gears frequently. They are also excellent options for beginners, particularly when on an upgrade. Automatic transmissions also make a hill start incredibly easy while giving you all the freedom you desire from the clutch. The computer system in a vehicle is the only entity whose complexity surpasses that of transmissions.

Why a High-Performance Automatic Transmission?

Have you ever wondered why some transmissions are referred to as ‘high-performance’ transmissions? It is because high-performance automatic transmissions are much more carefully engineered and built for engines capable of speed and exceptional performance. There was a time when this gear mechanism was limited to only a few vehicles. These vehicles were typically used only for street racing or racing on the drag strip. But this line has been blurred over the years, and many cars now have high-performance automatic transmissions.

Gone are the days when numerous car enthusiasts reserved specific vehicles for drag or street racing. Instead, they have gone out of their way to outfit their unique daily drivers to make them adaptable enough to conform to numerous everyday roles. In other words, it implies modifying their existing muscle vehicles to meet their objectives: a dependable daily driver and a reliable tear-up-track or tear-up-the-street vehicle by night or on weekends.

Types of Vehicle Transmissions

Three primary transmissions exist automatic, manual, and electric. Both automatic and manual transmissions have service intervals. However, since they are sealed units, electric transmissions don’t have service intervals. Modern paddle-shifted automatics, especially those with up to 10 gears, usually post better acceleration numbers than manuals. 

Understanding Automatic Transmissions

The automatic transmission delivers torque from the car engine to the wheels, providing optimal power for negotiating numerous driving conditions. Both automatic and manual transmissions offer a fixed number of gear ratios. In contrast, a CVT (continuously variable transmission) theoretically gives an infinite number of gear ratios within a specific fixed range. You can achieve this in vehicles with manual transmissions by selecting the right gear, though this depends significantly on the prevailing driving conditions.

But on the other hand, automatic transmissions select the ideal gear ratio without human intervention. Manual transmissions require maintenance from time to time and must be checked during periodic service. However, manual transmission issues can usually be fixed or repaired without fuss. But continuously variable transmissions and automatic transmissions are comparatively maintenance-free, according to most vehicle manufacturers. 

Improving the Reliability of Your High-Performance Automatic Transmission

There are six ways you should consider if you want to improve the reliability and performance of your automatic transmission. They are as follows:

1. Service Your Automatic Transmission

In an ideal case, automatic transmissions last between 300,000 km to 400,000 km. As a result, most vehicle manufacturers claim that their automatic vehicles do not need transmission fluids. Therefore, you don’t need to change your vehicle’s transmission fluid unless you have a leak. But practically, as with most things in life, things are not all that smooth with the majority of automatic transmissions.

Most automatic vehicles will notice strange transmission-linked symptoms, especially after approximately 150,000 km. Servicing usually helps fix or prevent these issues. However, according to most vehicle manufacturers, there is no need for transmission fluid changes. But in reality, the essential properties of transmission fluid usually start deteriorating with time or age. This means changing your automatic transmission’s fluid would be necessary.

Saving the automatic transmission is always easier during the early stages. But there’s no harm in undertaking a transmission fluid flush later. In most cases, changing the transmission fluid restores its performance to a greater extent, whether or not the symptoms are acute. However, there is no 100 percent guarantee, but the transmission fluid change often works. This is an excellent and inexpensive way of fixing automatic transmission issues.

This is because a brand-new transmission costs nearly ten times the amount it would take to flush your transmission fluid. Therefore, attempting the repair makes sense. Although it won’t restore the automatic transmission to its full initial performance, some symptoms may suddenly disappear while others get less dramatic. However, it is highly recommended to maintain automatic transmissions during the early stages than to risk this occurrence.

2. Change Your Driving Habits

Always allow your vehicle’s engine to warm up for several minutes before you shift into drive. This is crucial, especially during the winter months.

3. Change Your Transmission Filter

This depends on the model and makes of your car. Your vehicle’s automatic transmission may come with a filter that needs to be changed regularly. However, newer model vehicles don’t have transmission filters.

4. Never Change Gears While Your Vehicle Is in Motion

Ensure your vehicle stops completely before changing gears to ‘reverse’ or ‘drive,’ or vice versa. If you don’t, you unnecessarily put a strain on your automatic transmission. This could result in severe issues down the road if you keep this up for an extended period.

5. Always Use the Recommended Type of Transmission Fluid

Consult your car’s owner’s manual to determine your vehicle’s ideal type of transmission fluid.

6. Service Your Engine’s Cooling System

The job of your vehicle’s cooling system is to prevent the engine from overheating. But only a few car owners know that the cooling system also cools the transmission fluid pumping through the gearbox. It is far more likely to require a transmission repair before your car engine overheats. Therefore, ensure your cooling system is in ideal condition.

Final Takeaway

Automatic transmissions are taking over the day as manual transmission dies out slowly. These transmissions were once inefficient, clunky, and slow but have become the point-and-go machines we know today. In addition, these automatic transmissions have made driving easier and have become widely available. You can improve the reliability and performance of your automatic transmission by following the tips highlighted above.